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The Crikey readers of Sydney came out in force last Thursday for a belter of a night at the Dendy Bar in Martin Place that saw Crikey about $700 better off.

The Demtel man and NRMA director Tim Shaw had a sudden parent-teacher interview engagement and couldn’t make it to perform the MC duties as planned. Let’s hope the parent wasn’t Nick Whitlam and the teacher Anne Keating as NRMA factional battles exploded back onto the front page of the Fin Review on Friday morning.

Anyway, we had a great night over three hours at the Dendy Bar in Martin Place with about 100 new and old subscribers turning out. Kate, Jo and Lizzie did a great job in their Crikey tee-shirts extracting cash out of people on arrival.

The girls ensured everyone wore their spoof names tags and signed up about 20 new subscribers and also took $30 resubscriptions from 22 existing subscribers.

The dynamic defacto couple of Gina Schoff and Will Houghton, QC, were well represented by their throw rug which was laid out on the pool table and covered with a variety of legal documents which entertained and enthralled guests all night.

The bits that most inspired everyone about the legal system was how people swearing affidavits described the way they located the material. Take this affidavit as an example:

“I, Kalika Ashvini Jayasekera of 600 Bourke St, Melbourne, Articled Clerk in the State of Victoria make oath and say as follows:

1. I am an Articled Clerk in the employ of Corrs Chambers Westgarth, the solicitors for the plaintiff in this proceeding.

2. On 5 February 2001, I accessed the Crikey.com.au website. In order to access the website I used the Microsoft Internet Explorer software on my computer to access the worldwide web (“www”) and typed in the letters www.crikey.com.au. I then clicked the return button on the keyboard of my computer and the Crikey home page appeared on my screen (the “Crikey home page”). Using my mouse I then clicked on the icon “print” which caused a copy of the Crikey home page that appeared on my screen to be printed. Now produced and shown to me and marked “KAJ1” is the copy of the Crikey home page that I caused to be printed.

3. Having printed the Crikey home page I then used my mouse to click on the word “media” which appeared on the left margin of the Crikey home page. A new web page appeared on the screen of which I printed a copy by following the procedure that I have described in the previous paragraph. Now produced and shown to me and marked “KAJ2” is the copy of the web page “This week in media” that I caused to be printed.

4. I then returned to the Crikey home page and clicked on the words “your say” which appear in the left margin of the Crikey home page. A new web page appeared on my screen of which I printed a copy. Now produced and shown to me and marked “KAJ3” is the copy of the web page entitled “Half Price, dodgy councils and Bitter Vics” that I caused to be printed.

5. I then returned to the Crikey home page and clicked on the words “Crikey and Half Price: the latest” which appeared under the section titled media on the Crikey home pages. A new web page appeared on my page with an article titled “Why is everybody suing each other asks Half Price”. Now produced and shown to me and marked “KAJ4” is a copy of the web page that I caused to be printed.

Sworn on Feb 15 before Benjamin D Davidson, a solicitor at Corrs.

ends

If we are required to go into such amazing details for a defence, we’ll need plenty of dollars. Thankfully, more than 20 people generously donated to the Steve Price fighting fund and will appear on the soon-to-be published Honor Board. These funds might yet end up in the pocket of Will and Gina so it will be nice to keep it amongst friends.

Crikey is no auctioneer but John Maconochie, the man who is suing the National Australia Bank for $50 billion, won the throw rug with a bid of $50. He generously handed over the cash but failed to leave with the $140 rug even though he reckoned the pet poodle would love it in the back of the Jag.

Having raised a couple of thousand so far we’ll be using this as the basis of a settlement offer to Steve Price this week before the judge is due to hear the contempt application in the Practice Court on Thursday.

Hillary was unable to make out Sydney function, but Dan, our Sydney columnist, read out an amusing apology from Crikey’s best asset.

Hillary’s message to the Sydney readers of Crikey

Hillary is so terribly, terribly sorry not to be with you all tonight.

Hillary really did want to come down, but discovered a cigarette burn in the favourite Colette Dinnegan outfit – and then some more. After looking more closely, they might be part of the lace pattern, but it’s too late now. Hillary’s stuck in Canberra – and don’t you pretend to be upset, Dan McNutt. Hillary knows all about your weekend at Panthers with that bitch Ros Reines.

Anyway, Hillary’s got more important things to do. Hillary, as you all know, is a good economic rationalist – and is going to let you into a little secret behind Crikey.

Hillary works in one of the caring portfolios – and has been charged with seeing through a pilot plan to provide care in the community at minimal cost to government.

It’s very cheap. All we need to do is find a lunatic and give him a PC and a couple sessions of hypnotherapy to convince him he’s doing something useful to society – and let him take it from there.

You’ve probably guessed who the lunatic is by now. He won’t even notice what he’s reading because the hypnotherapy has programmed him not to – but you wouldn’t believe how much money we save by letting him wander from AGM to AGM rather than keeping him cooped up and medicated. As long as he doesn’t cause Ron Walker too much trouble, it’s fine.

However, Hillary’s little pilot program has gone astray. From what ASIO has heard on the phone taps at Corrs, Steve Price really wants to get our subject for criminal libel – and that’s an offence you can go to prison for. You can imagine what that would do for our bottom line. It just can’t be allowed to happen. God! We need that money for the 25 community ice rinks cum high speed internet access centres we’re about to put into Bob Katter’s electorate to shut him up. It’s vital.

That means that Hillary wants to thank you all for coming along and supporting Stephen and Crikey tonight. If he can raise enough money from private donations, he might just be able to afford a decent legal team and stay out of the nick – and that would be a great relief to all of us in the Minister’s office.

By the way, Mike Wooldridge and some of his mates from the pharmaceutical industry were planning to put together a goodie bag for all of you people kind enough to turn out tonight. Hillary trusts they’ve been delivered.

Check on the way out, but courtesy of our friends at Pfizer, you should find enough Prozac and Viagra by the door to keep you smiling through to December.

Who says we’re not determined to win a third term?

Hillary Bray

Just as a subscriber got up and did a Paul Keating impersonation at our Melbourne fundraiser, the chap wearing the “Col Allan: p… sinker” badge got up and did a five minute stand up routine in Sydney which broke up the heavy politics.

A Parliament House champagne flute complete with Natasha lipstick stain also fetched $35 at auction, thanks in part to the Natasha lookalike driving up the bidding.

The night was broken into two parts with an initial defamation segment. We have this week published a list of prominent dead and alive Australians who have issued defamation proceedings in a Supreme Court and would welcome your contributions.

Antony Green helped officiate in the second part of the evening as we conducted the inaugural AC Crikey poll and quiz with the 100 (official police estimate) people present.

The poll results were as follows.

Will Health Minister Michael Woolridge lose his seat of Casey at the next election which he holds with a 4.8 per cent margin? 60-40 in favour of holding and Antony reckons it will be tight.

Will the Democrats lose the balance of power in the Senate at the next election? 70-30 in favour of losing it after 20 years. Antony also thinks this is likely.

Will Natasha Spot Destroyer be leading the Democrats by the end of March? 70-30 in favour.

Will Labor win a majority of more than 20 seats? 80-20 against.

Will One Nation win two or more Senate seats? 50-50.

Can the Greens be trusted with the balance of power in the Senate? 90-10 against even though a tree-hugging Greens NSW upper house MP and the head of Boral green shareholders both attended our function.

And the quiz result answers were as follows:

How many millions did Demtel spent on Tim Shaw’s “but wait there’s more” TV campaign? $35 million.

How many times has John Singleton been married? Six.

Who was the highest paid non-executive chairman last year? Nick Whitlam with $500,000.

How many minutes earlier than Graham Richardson did Antony Green call the Queensland election? 28.

ends

By 9.30pm it was time to retire back to a mate’s place in Balmain and contemplate life on his balcony whilst soaking up the amazing harbour views and sucking on a couple of VBs.

We counted the cash and were well pleased at putting on a fun night for everyone whilst simultaneously scoring some much needed cash to fund our upcoming legal stoushes.

Thanks again to everyone for their support.

Peter Fray

This crisis will cut hard and deep but one day it will be over.

What will be left? What do you want to be left?

I know what I want to see: I want to see a thriving, independent and robust Australian-owned news media. I want to see governments, authorities and those with power held to account. I want to see the media held to account too.

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Peter Fray
Editor-In-Chief of Crikey

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